July 25 coronavirus news

By James Griffiths, Steve George, Zamira Rahim, Fernando Alfonso III and Amir Vera, CNN

Updated 12:20 AM ET, Sun July 26, 2020
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12:02 a.m. ET, July 25, 2020

Former US disease control chief says it's important to be honest with people about the risks of a vaccine

From CNN’s Shelby Lin Erdman

Former Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Tom Frieden uses hand sanitizer during a hearing on May 6 in Washington.
Former Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Tom Frieden uses hand sanitizer during a hearing on May 6 in Washington. Alex Wong/Getty Images

The first concern with a vaccine to prevent coronavirus infection will be safety, former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Thomas Frieden said Friday.

“This is the first time we've had an anti-vaccine movement before we've had the vaccine,” Frieden said in a podcast sponsored by the online news site Axios.

That makes it important to be honest and open with people about the risks, he said. 

“There's already too much suspicion and hesitancy about vaccines, and the way to address that is to just say it like it is and be sure that we're saying what we're doing, when we're doing it, what we're learning, when we're learning it,” said Frieden, who is now the president of Resolve to Save Lives. 

One concern is a potential immune reaction to vaccination, he said. “Because some of the adverse outcomes from Covid-19 are immune-regulated, and that raises the theoretical concern that something like the Kawasaki-like illness that you're seeing in rare instances of childhood illness could be a rare adverse event of vaccination,” he said.

Frieden said if a coronavirus vaccine is approved, he’d get one. “If there’s enough vaccine enough to provide for essential workers and particularly health care workers first and it's demonstrated to be safe and effective, I'd be delighted to get vaccinated,” Frieden said.

“There are a lot of hurdles to get over before we actually have a vaccine available, proven to be effective, demonstrated to be safe and widely used,” he added. “First and foremost is safety and efficacy,” he said. “Does it work, how well, for whom, for how long and is it safe?”

So far 25 vaccines are in human trials around the world and 141 more are in preclinical trials, according to the World Health Organization.

But a vaccine will not be the only solution to the pandemic. “I think what we have to get past is the idea that there is one thing that’s going to make Covid go away,” Frieden said.

12:02 a.m. ET, July 25, 2020

Bahamas warns of "grave health crisis" following a surge in Covid-19 cases

From CNN’s Patrick Oppmann in Havana

Lounge chairs sit stacked on a beach while temporarily closed in Nassau, Bahamas, on Friday, April 24.
Lounge chairs sit stacked on a beach while temporarily closed in Nassau, Bahamas, on Friday, April 24. Melissa Alcena/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Following a warning of a “grave health crisis,” the Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis announced the country would go into an emergency weekend lockdown after a surge in Covid-19 cases since reopening on July 1. 

On Friday, the Bahamian Ministry of Health reported 42 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total so far to 316.

Minnis said that other than essential workers, all Bahamians would be required to remain in their homes through the weekend. Exceptions would be made for people to buy food and seek medical aid, he added.

All religious services, dining in restaurants and social gatherings are canceled through the weekend, Minnis said, adding that the Bahamas will likely continue to institute lockdowns during the weekends moving forward.

Minnis also announced he was reversing an order that went into effect Wednesday that banned commercial air travel from the US to the Bahamas.

Instead, he said, the Bahamas would not block tourists from any country but visitors would be required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival and then test negative for the virus. 

Minnis urged Bahamians not to travel to coronavirus “hotspots” in “neighboring countries.”

12:02 a.m. ET, July 25, 2020

US authorizes first test for asymptomatic Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Shelby Lin Erdman

Dr. Stephen Hahn, commissioner of food and drugs at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing in Washington, DC, on June 30.
Dr. Stephen Hahn, commissioner of food and drugs at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing in Washington, DC, on June 30. Al Drago/Pool/Abaca/Sipa USA

The US Food and Drug Administration has authorized the first coronavirus test for asymptomatic Covid-19 cases and for those who don’t think they’re infected with the virus at all.

The agency reissued an emergency use authorization for a LabCorp Covid-19 RT-PCR test after the company provided scientific proof that the test was able to detect the virus in asymptomatic individuals. The RT-PCR test amplifies genetic matter from the virus so it’s detectable.

The emergency use authorization also allows the test to be used on pooled samples.

“Today's authorization eliminates the need for a provider to consider risk factors such as exposure or community spread when prescribing this test,” the FDA said in a statement.

The test could be a game changer for hospitals, businesses, schools and others, the FDA said.

"FDA's authorization of the first diagnostic test to be used for anyone, regardless of whether they are showing symptoms of Covid-19 or have other exposure risk factors, is a step toward the type of broad screening that may help enable the reopening of schools and workplaces," FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said in a statement Friday.

The FDA’s emergency use authorization for the LabCorp test also allows the company to test pooled samples of up to five individual swabs at a time to help test more samples using fewer testing supplies, which are in high demand and short supply in some areas.

"By authorizing another test for use with pooled samples, we also further help increase the possibility that patients may be able to receive results sooner, while also conserving vital testing supplies, which are under increased demand during the pandemic,” Hahn said.

The test is only available through a prescription, the FDA said, and is only authorized for sample collection with LabCorp’s test kits or by a health provider.

The test first received an emergency use authorization in mid-March for testing only on people suspected of having Covid-19 and was not authorized for pool testing.

12:02 a.m. ET, July 25, 2020

Mexico reports more than 7,500 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Karol Suarez and Taylor Barnes

A health department worker collects patient data from people waiting in line for Covid-19 testing, at a mobile diagnostic tent in Mexico City on July 24.
A health department worker collects patient data from people waiting in line for Covid-19 testing, at a mobile diagnostic tent in Mexico City on July 24. Rebecca Blackwell/AP

Mexico's health ministry announced 7,573 new Covid-19 infections on Friday, bringing the nationwide total to 378,285.

The ministry also reported 737 new deaths due to the virus, raising the country’s death toll to 42,645.

Despite the rising number of new cases, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador reiterated his claim Friday that the coronavirus pandemic is "losing steam" in the country and attributed the new case numbers to an increase in testing capacity and a delay in updating the new cases.

“We need to find a balance between health and economic situation, reopening carefully, practicing all the protocols, but we can't stay immobilized. If we open and there's an outbreak, we will close again,” Obrador said.